Discovering Oil: 51-unit Operator Strikes it Rich in Fast-Lube Franchise

Some years after David Griffin set out in the late '70s to build an auto detailing business, he found himself with a large, scattered operation that had many of the same attributes as a franchise. He ended up opening five separate locations in Utah, including one big central complex, along with an independent chemical business and distribution center that provided the materials he needed to clean vehicles for local residents, car dealers, and a large wholesale auto auction operation.

About 10 years ago, Griffin's business took a fateful turn: He added a fast-lube operation at the end of the express lane at one of his locations. "It satisfied a need my customers had," says Griffin. "And that's how I got into the Jiffy Lube world. From that point of buying one, we're now at 51."

Eventually, Griffin sold off all but one of his car wash and auto detailing locations so he could concentrate his time and attention on building out his fast-lube business, which now stretches into Utah, Colorado, and Nevada.

"Our past primed us for the present," says Griffin. "We really appreciate what the franchisor does for us. We came to fast lube after developing a franchise-like business on our own. We had to develop our own procedures, we had to develop our own chemicals, everything from scratch in its entirety. Jiffy Lube had accumulated all these practices that were paradigms of success, and accumulated knowledge from when they acquired other franchises. We probably have the opportunity to look back and appreciate it more. Now all we have to do is run our business. We came from the ground up and we know how hard it is when you have to do it from scratch."

Griffin's used to doing things the hard way. The son of a hardscrabble farmer, he's earned everything he now owns. He works hard, something his three sons have taken to heart as they've taken trusted positions in his growing franchise operation. And he can rely on his wife and partner, Joye, for wise advice and unending support. The tightly knit family business is made stronger by their teamwork and a shared sense of purpose.

"We don't plan on stopping," says the hard-charging Griffin, who's happy to play as hard as he works. Every day is another family day for Griffin, whether he's working long hours or enjoying more time with his three grandchildren. "We don't stop in any fashion. Our objective is to continue to grow."

But Griffin's not growing his business just to get bigger or have more things. Growth is his opportunity to give more back to the people who work in his franchises and live in his communities.

"He who gets and who never gives over a lifetime will never live, either in his personal life or business life, says Griffin. "If you are a taker and you're known as a taker and everything draws into you, and everything good is pointed at you, how do you think that makes your people feel?

"We're a builder of people, young men, and women, who desire to be successful," says Griffin. And that's a path he learned to follow when he was still young.

Name: David Griffin
Title: President
Company: Griffin Fast Lube LLC (Jiffy Lube)
No. of units (by brand): 51

Age: 52
Family: Married 30 years to Joye, wife, business partner, and closest adviser, with three sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Years in current position: 30
Years in franchising: 10

Published: April 13th, 2010

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